Blunt introduces VOCAA reauthorization

Senate Law Enforcement Caucus Co-Chair Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced bipartisan legislation on Wednesday that would reauthorize the Victim of Child Abuse Act and fund Children’s Advocacy Centers for child victims of violent crimes.

Blunt introduced the legislation with Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).

“There are 22 Child Advocacy Centers located in Missouri, which serve around 7,000 of our state’s most vulnerable children each year by coordinating the investigation, treatment and prosecution of child abuse cases,” Blunt said. “This bill allows Child Advocacy Centers in Missouri and across the country to continue to provide a safe haven for child abuse victims and helps law enforcement hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.”

Child Advocacy Centers employ professionals who conduct forensic interviews of child victims of abuse that are intended to be admissible in court rather than forcing a child to repeat the story during a hearing.

The VOCAA Reauthorization Act of 2013 would increase authorization for Children’s Advocacy Centers from $20 million to $22.5 million annually.

The measure would also improve the program through additional accountability provisions, requirements for non-profit groups and conference expenditure limitations.

A number of representatives of child advocacy groups have supported the of the legislation.